Mysticism of St. Francis Dan Nicholson





Mysticism of St. Francis  by  Dan Nicholson

Mysticism of St. Francis by Dan Nicholson
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THE STATE OF FRANCISCAN LITERATURE, at the present day, is such as to cause some hesitation in the mind of any lover of Francis of Assisi who may feel moved to add to its already enormous bulk. Both the man himself and the far-reaching movement to which he gave rise have been treated from so many and such different standpoints, and with so vast an expenditure of erudition and enthusiasm, that at first sight the field of research would seem to have been exhausted. Moreover, as far as an actual biography the consideration of the events of Francis life and the general character that they demonstrate evidence is concerned, it is clear that the three great biographies of M.

Sabatier, M. Joergensen, and Father Cuthbert have left nothing of importance unnoticed to our understanding of Francis and his times. They are authoritative in the best sense, in that they combine sympathy for the personality of their subject with a precise and profound knowledge of the yet discovered facts concerning him. To have attempted another biography, therefore, would have been both impertinent and superfluous, and in preparing this study of Francis’ mysticism, I have not attempted to cover again the well-explored ground.This being stated, it may be well to prepare the reader for what I have attempted to do.

It seemed to me for a lengthy period, that the literature which concerns Francis has been deficient in one respect, and that respect is in which it touches most deeply the reality of any presentation of him and therefore its value for the present day. At the side of the detailed biographies there have been studies offered to the reading public which show him from countless number of standpoints: he has been considered as an impassioned and far-sighted social reformer, as a great statesman, as an obedient son of the Church, as a semi-rebel whose mission was to reform its more salient abuses, as a tender-hearted lover of animals and of all things that live, as an inspired poet, as a man deeply imbued with the knightly tradition, as a rather weak-minded if amiable enthusiast who did no great harm but certainly no great good, as a fanatic, as a mentally deranged neurasthenic- but, except for passing references, I have not been able to discover that he has been treated as a mystic.

Yet, if mysticism stands for the most real aspect of the individual, if it represents the relation between him and the Absolute, it is in this supremacy that lays the key to his character and so to his actions. It will provide the clue to the main direction of his life as well as to its details, if it were once conceded that mysticism was a real and living force for him.

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